The dangers of texting and driving are well-documented. Drivers who use cell phones while on highways, in city traffic, and in their neighborhoods are putting others on the road at risk. Throughout the nation, states have begun to pass extensive laws that prohibit texting and cell phone use while driving to prevent the serious accidents and injuries related to driver distractions.
Unlike other states that have passed laws to limit the use of cell phones on the road, Florida law makers rejected the proposed bills. One bill proposed to make texting while behind the wheel illegal and would impose criminal liability on individuals who were caught driving and texting or talking on a cell phone. Another rejected bill would have allowed police to give moving violations to drivers who were using a cell phone.
A violation of a “texting while driving” law is one way to establish liability in car, motorcycle or trucking accidents. While criminal liability alone does not mean that the driver was at fault, it can be used as evidence to demonstrate negligence in a personal injury case. When one driver is held criminally responsible, they could also be responsible in a civil court for any serious injury or wrongful death resulting from the accident.
Florida’s failure to pass “texting while driving law” may be an indication that Florida drivers are not ready to assume criminal liability for what is arguably just another distraction, like eating, putting on make-up, or trying to control children while driving a vehicle. Most drivers will undergo some kind of distraction while on the road. On the other hand, the use of cell phones is known to be a serious diversion, one that is proven to result in serious accidents, injuries, and wrongful death. Lawmakers themselves admit that they use their phones for business calls and could not support the legislation that makes it illegal.
While cell phone use is a convenience for everyone, it is still worth considering how legislation in other states has impacted accident records and whether or not making driving while texting illegal helps to minimize accidents and injuries on the road.
Source: Local10.com, “Texting-and-Driving Laws Fail in Fla.,” Michael Putney, March 13, 2012.